Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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 81 
 on: June 18, 2015, 12:17:49 AM 
Started by Consigliere3 - Last post by Maintain FL 350
I would take it now. That will give you time to take the course and take lots of practice exams. If there's time, some courses will let you repeat the program for extra practice.

 82 
 on: June 17, 2015, 11:20:14 PM 
Started by Consigliere3 - Last post by Consigliere3
Hi
I'm intending to take the October LSAT. When is the right time to take a prep course? Is it too early to take one now? As of this writing there is just over 3 months left.

Thank you

 83 
 on: June 17, 2015, 09:57:56 PM 
Started by sekagirl - Last post by useropionion
In reading some of the responses it seems to me that some of the posts on here might be from persons working at Taft Law School. 

 84 
 on: June 17, 2015, 07:27:59 PM 
Started by geeklawgirl - Last post by Maintain FL 350
To some extent you're putting the cart before the horse. Even though you've taken a few practice tests you don't know what your actual LSAT score will be. It might be 170, or it might be 155. Practice tests can vary quite a bit, and the conditions can approximate, but not actually replicate, real testing conditions. So, bottom line is that until you have an actual 170 (or at least a string of multiple practice tests consistently scoring that high) you can't assume you'll score that high.

That said, if you have a family cost should be a major, major concern. Depending on your goals you may be better off going to a lower ranked school with little or no debt versus a bigger name school with a huge debt.

If you do score very high and have the chance to attend a truly nationally recognized, elite school (think Ivy League) then it may be worth the cost and the uprooting. But if you end up trying to decide between the #45 ranked school and the #60 school, focus on costs and employment opportunities.

At elite schools your GPA is going to hurt you, unfortunately. They want high GPAs and high LSATs. But plenty of good schools will happily take someone with a 3.0/160-something. Once you have an actual score on the board you will be in a much better position to figure out your options. 

BTW, are you looking at part time or full time programs?

 85 
 on: June 17, 2015, 07:14:52 PM 
Started by geeklawgirl - Last post by Maintain FL 350
Definitely try to bring up your GPA as much as possible, and focus like crazy on the LSAT. I really cannot emphasize that enough. The LSAT, in my opinion, is a bigger factor than your GPA. A high LSAT score can overcome a low GPA, but not the other way around.

Even if you don't score 168-70, which is like top 3-4% I think, you can still get into plenty of law schools. But yes, the higher the score the more options you'll have and the more scholarship money you can get. I would definitely look into a prep course when the time comes.

 86 
 on: June 17, 2015, 05:13:04 PM 
Started by geeklawgirl - Last post by geeklawgirl
I'm currently enrolled to take the October LSAT and will graduate with my BA in May.  I'm attending law school as a second career (kind of...I've been a paralegal for a number of years) and am married with a family.  I am fortunate to live in an area where there are not 1, not 2, but 3 law schools within commuting distance.  All are affordable, and they range from a 2nd tier with a good local and regional reputation, to a 4th tier with an excellent metro reputation, but not much outside of that.  I took my "raw" test LSAT and came up with a 153.  After a two weeks of studying, I have managed a 160 (thank you Logic Games Bible!).  I expect once I fully master logic games and do some fine tuning on logical reasoning that my final LSAT will be in the high 160's -- low 170's.  The bad?  I'll have a fairly low (2.8 -- 3.0) GPA, mostly due to stupid choices 10 years ago.  I had originally planned on staying local, and attending one of the schools around me, but didn't expect to be doing so well on my practice tests.  Should I plan to apply to a higher ranked school?  If so, any suggestions are welcome.  My concerns (in order of importance) are: cost, making sure my husband is able to find a job to support us (he has a MPA and currently works for the state in corrections), as well as cost of living and schools and all of the other things you consider when uprooting your family.  Thanks!

 87 
 on: June 17, 2015, 04:58:53 PM 
Started by geeklawgirl - Last post by geeklawgirl
Thanks for the reply.  I'm nervous about this, as the culture that the attorneys seem to share is pretty different from "the help", but I love the legal field and feel I would do well in law school.  My GPA is relatively low (should be around 3.0 by the time I graduate, although it might be as low as 2.8), but my "raw" practice LSAT was 153 and the one I took last week (after 2 weeks studying) was up to 160.  I'm shooting for an LSAT between 168-170 and only looking to get into local schools (a tier 2,3, and 4 are all within driving distance of my home).

 88 
 on: June 17, 2015, 12:58:40 PM 
Started by geeklawgirl - Last post by Maintain FL 350
Hi Geeklawgirl (great name). I'll try to match my responses to your specific questions.

Admission
Your experience will help a little, but not much. Law school admission is a numbers game, and your GPA/LSAT profile will dominate the process. Work experience (even something highly relevant like paralegal) is a soft factor. It kind of helps, but that's about it. If your numbers are below median at a particular school, being a paralegal won't make up for that. If your numbers are average or a little above average, it might help.

Especially at part time programs, there are lots of paralegals attending so it's not especially unique.

In Law School
Your research experience will help and you will be more familiar with legal terminology, reading cases, and maybe understanding legal rules than your classmates. However, it may be less useful than you anticipate.

Law school is an academic process, and it's really REALLY different from the practice of law. For example, if you take a class on Bankruptcy your prior experience will definitely be useful. But, nothing that you've done as a paralegal will prepare you for engaging in a Socratic method grilling on Torts, or spotting a Rule Against Perpetuities issue on a Property exam. Law school has it's own culture and rules, and they aren't really parallel to the world of legal practice (as goofy as that may seem). There is a shared language, but the processes are fundamentally different.

Getting a Job
Yes, it will help you here. In fact, it might help a lot. You will have a better network than most new lawyers, be more mature, and understand what law firms/agencies are looking for. This is huge, and I think this is where your experience will pay off.

The degree to which your experience will help is somewhat dependent on your pedigree and the specific job your applying for, however. Certain firms/agencies are still going to want a pedigree and high grades. At those places your experience will probably not be enough to overcome a non-elite degree or low grades.

In other words, if a Whittier grad with paralegal experience and a Stanford grad with no experience both apply to a Biglaw firm, the Stanford grad will probably get the job anyway. At smaller firms and government agencies like the PD/DA, however, your experience will definitely help.

Paralegal experience can also help if you decide to open your own office. I had a friend who was a family law paralegal for years before and during law school. She opened her own solo practice straight away and was actually successful, which not common. Her experience in seeing how a firm runs and what needs to be done on a daily basis was crucial to her success.

When to Tell Your Bosses
Can't answer that. You know them better than anyone here does.


 89 
 on: June 17, 2015, 11:30:55 AM 
Started by geeklawgirl - Last post by geeklawgirl
Hi all:

I've a full time, consistently working paralegal.  I have 8 years of experience under my belt (4 years in complex litigation, 1 in insurance law, 3 in bankruptcy).  I have recently gone back to school to finish my long-neglected BA in sociology.  I plan on graduating next May (2016) and have decided I want to attend law school when I'm done.  My question for the hive mind is this:  How will my prior experience be looked on when I'm applying for law school?  In school itself?  Applying for jobs afterward?  Will it be a case where I need to show off my knowledge or be humble?  Also, when should I tell my bosses?  I would love their assistance in the application process, but I'm concerned they'll write me off (even though I wouldn't leave my job for a year from now).  Thanks for the advice!

 90 
 on: June 16, 2015, 09:14:03 PM 
Started by Maintain FL 350 - Last post by i VIII π
"The U.S. News Rankings has as much authority as the Cooley rankings do they are both magazines."

Bull. Look, I'm as critical as USNWR Rankings as anyone, but this backlash deserves a backlash. First, a little history. The internet was not always around or easily available - remember? So USNWR Rankings, while imperfect (which I will get to) provided a great benefit to the clueless 0Ls out there in general- a benefit they still provide. Some information is better than no information.

Second, it is certainly true that there is little difference between #50 and #70. Period. But, in total, the ranking are pretty accurate. There is a great deal of difference between schools ranked at the top and schools ranked at the bottom (or, as I believe they are now, unranked). Why? Because things like school reputation and how competitive the admissions process does matter; and, yes, to bring up the constant examples, Harvard and Yale are better schools than Golden Gate and Cooley. The professors are better. The overall quality of the student body is better. The employment outcomes are better. This is so obvious I didn't think it bears repeating, but apparently it does.

Third, so long as there is further understanding that the USNWR Ranking are kind of a neat starting point, they're fine. They are an aggregate that allows 0Ls to quickly ascertain information like the rough chances that they will get admission to a place, and the "quality" of a place (in terms of employment outcomes, reputation of the schools, academic quality as determined by quality of student body and/or ability to attract and retain great scholar... who may or may not be great professors).

Fourth, I agree with many of the criticisms of the USNWR. Numbers can be, and were, cooked by some of the schools to try and influence rankings. And that's a terrible thing. 0Ls placed too much importance on the rankings in isolation, instead of considering them as a starting point. The rankings can be, and have been, self-reinforcing- after all, since reputation matters so much, once a school is a good school, it will tend to stay there since everyone knows it's a good school, since it's ranked high. Saying something could be better, though, is not the same as saying it is completely useless. For example, USNWR is a good proxy for general admissions chances at a quick glance- lawschoolnumbers is better.

Now, remember the context of the Cooley Rankings. There was a time when so many people were making the (bad) decision to go to law school that Cooley could literally print money off of these poor saps. Only problem was some of them bothered to do a little bit of research. So they decided to engage in a multi-front PR war, including their own rankings. Sure, some of us knew what a joke they were- but I remember how many times, back in the day, some poor 0L would ask about those rankings. Those completely bogus rankings worked for them.

TLDR- We've had the backlash to the rankings; maybe it's time for the backlash to the backlash.
So your counterargument is that they are arcane and antiquated ??

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